Dec 8, 2012

Maintenance schedule for the winter

I promised earlier to write an update on our maintenance plan for the coming winter. The autumn has proceeded very quickly, and not too much has happened yet. I have been working at the boat about once per week and the hull and the coachroof is now mechanically polished and waxed - I'm planning to make a blog post on this shortly.   

Wet part clearly shows were the water is pooling in the rudder blade
But the actual renovation project kicks-off in January with the company Airisto Marine Oy. First on the agenda is the rudder. As I blogged last spring, there were some cracks on the rudder around the bronze fittings. Furthermore, I noticed, after the boat was lifted on September, that the lower part of the rudder blade stayed wet and kept dripping for days. So clearly there is some water trapped inside the rudder blade. In the past few months, I have been looking into this issue and also contacted the yard about this. It appears that this so called 'Enderlein-drip' is more or less a feature in all older HRs. So it is a pretty common problem and rarely a real structural problem because of the way the rudder is constructed and attached to the boat. But now that the boat is wintering indoors, it is the best time to fix it. Airisto Marine has a HotVac-system, which we are planning to use to dry the rudder. Let's see what happens.

Also rudder shaft stuffing box needs some care. Two years ago we had a leak from the stuffing box, but it has remained watertight since then with normal maintenance. However, now it is a good time to renew the gland packing, which I believe, is original. Rudder bearings appear to be in fairly good condition, so there is not probably need to replace those. Thus, we try to do all the work with the rudder without removing it, because it might be a bit larger project.

Small pinholes in the gelcoat
The second major renovation item is the underwater hull, which needs barrier coating after it was sodablasted clear of all the bottom paint a couple of months ago. The good news is that there is no blistering on the hull. However, moisture meter showed elevated readings at some places. Furthermore, there are some small pinholes in the gelcoat also at few places on the hull - probably caused by air bubbles during the original layup process. These are potential areas for development of osmosis/blistering, if moisture gets inside the gelcoat. So obviously it is not a good thing! Fortunately, moisture meter did not show elevated readings on those areas, so the pinholes will be just filled before applying the barrier coat.

Jarkko Marsh from Airisto Marine taking
moisture measurements
The hull has a good time to dry during the winter, before the new barrier coating is applied, so I hope that this will be enough and we do not have to use HotVac to speed-up the drying. It is a very important that the hull is dry before the new epoxy coating is applied, because otherwise the moisture is basically sealed into the hull, which could cause future problems.

Third maintenance item is the bilge, which needs also re-coating. The old topcoat will be sanded off and new coating applied (preferably epoxy coating). The problem is that the working space at the bottom of the bilge is - mildly said - quite challenging.

The fourth larger item is the teak deck, which will be carefully checked and all the suspicious caulking will be replaced.

Additionally, there are a lot of smaller items which need care and replacement after over twenty years of service. For example, all the winches including the anchor windlass, are serviced during the winter. There are also some wooden parts that need varnishing. And as always with boats, most probably new things will come up once you start digging deeper.
/Antti

There were some cracks in the gelcoat under the mast step, so the step was
removed for inspection.

Jarkko drilling a test hole for checking the condition of the plywood, used as a core material
under the mast step.  Fortunately, it was bone dry, so no problems with rot etc. 

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It would be very great to hear your opinion or comments. Thank you in advance for commenting! -Antti & Minna